When I was a child I realised that I preferred Christmas Eve to Christmas Day. It was so still and mysterious and there was that wonderful anticipation in the air. You could imagine anything was possible and it could be true, in a way, before reality arrived the next morning.
Being a Catholic family we went to church at Christmas and Midnight Mass when I was older. This seemed to make everything even more charged and exciting, because staying up so late meant entering an unknown world – a sleepy, magical, miraculous place where people gathered in the darkness inside a hazy candlelit church. One year it snowed and we were cut off from the rest of the world, a small quiet village marooned by a bypass stuffed with drifts. That Christmas Eve felt especially enchanted as we trudged around streets devoid of engines, with glowing stars, the blue dark sky and waves of snow shimmering with crystals.
This year a walk on the fell saw gloom pierced by rays of light, fiery bracken all around and beautiful gentle colours of violet and green in the distance.
Tilly may have been looking forward to the future with enthusiasm and hope or she may just have been lunging for a treat. Who’s to know?
In 2015 I hope to paint furiously and, if I can, adopt the mindset of Ray Bradbury who once said:
“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”